National Counselor Examination

National Counselor Examination

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is a 200-item multiple-choice examination designed to assess knowledge, skills and abilities determined to be important for providing effective counseling services. The NCE is a requirement for counselor licensure in many states. It is also one of two examination options for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification. It may also be accepted by military health systems to become a recognized provider.

The NCE was first used in 1983 as part of the NCC application process, and continues to undergo regular review and development to ensure it represents the current reality of practice and research in the counseling profession.

Study guides are available to help you prepare for the NCE.


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Content and Development

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) measures knowledge from the eight content areas of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the work behaviors determined by NBCC’s job analysis. Content is, therefore, based in both academic knowledge and current professional practice.

More information about the content and development of the NCE can be found in the NCE Handbook.


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Sample Questions for the NCE

The sample questions below should give you an idea of what to expect on the National Counselor Examination (NCE). For further practice questions, study tips and more, order NBCC’s official preparation guide or other study materials.

1. Professional ethics require counselors to:

  1. Give free counseling to 25% of minority clients.
  2. Provide 10% off of services for clients with children.
  3. Devote a portion of their practice for which there is little return.
  4. Charge clients with higher income more and those with lower income less.
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2. Soon after the initial session, the counselor must determine the client’s diagnosis because:

  1. All clients seen by the counselor must receive a diagnosis.
  2. The counselor must determine personal competence to treat the client.
  3. The counselor must explain the diagnosis to the client within 72 hours.
  4. The opportunity to accurately diagnose a client is limited to one week.
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3. Suicidal thoughts, daily fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, loss of weight, and insomnia for a period of one month are symptoms of:

  1. major depressive disorder
  2. obsessive compulsive disorder
  3. alcohol use disorder
  4. adjustment disorder
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4. The process where a counselor and client create a plan to help the client feel better is known as:

  1. Ascreening
  2. Binformed consent
  3. free association
  4. goal setting
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5. Counselors that ask clients to talk to an imaginary person seated in the room are using:

  1. Gestalt therapy
  2. Bsolution-focused therapy
  3. person-centered counseling
  4. Adlerian therapy
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6. A counselor who reacts angrily toward a client who reminds the counselor of an abusive parent is engaged in:

  1. sublimation
  2. transference
  3. transgression
  4. countertransference
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